, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 1184-1194
Date: 03 Apr 2011

Fitness costs of resistance to Bti toxins in the dengue vector Aedes aegypti

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Sustainable insect vector disease control strategies involve delaying the evolution of resistance to insecticides in natural populations. The evolutionary dynamics of resistance in the field is highly dependent on the fitness cost of resistance alleles. To successfully manage resistance evolution in target species, it is not only important to find evidence of fitness cost in resistant insects, but also to determine at which stage of the insect’s life it is expressed. Here, we show that resistance costs to the bacterio-insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis (Bti) are expressed at all the life-stages of the dengue vector Aedes aegypti, including egg survival, larval development time, and female fecundity. We show that the storage of eggs for 4 months is long enough to counter-select resistance alleles. This suggests that Bti resistance is not likely to evolve in temperate climates where most mosquito species overwinter as eggs. In tropical regions with a rapid turn-over of generations, resistance alleles are likely to be counter-selected in only few generations without treatment through fitness costs expressed in terms of larval development time and female fecundity. We discuss the implications of our findings in terms of sustainable management strategies in light of the challenge of preserving the long-term efficiency of this environmentally safe anti-mosquito bio-insecticide.